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Ask any Egyptian where you can find the Bride of Upper Egypt and you would be directed to the city of El Minya. El Minya bridges the gap between upper and lower Egypt and it is also over 100 miles from Cairo as well. This old cotton producing town has expanded its manufacturing base over the years to include the production of sugar and perfume. This definitely helps the citys state of economy on different levels. If you are looking to see historic buildings and monuments then El Minya is not the location for that.
What you are sure to see are a few sights that have become points of interest for those who visit. For instance one of the largest cemeteries in the world can be found here in El Minya. The Zawiyyet al-Mayyiteen also known as the Place of the Dead is just four miles from the main El Minya town and is one where both Christians and Muslims are buried. The cemetery has chapels and tombs and in keeping with tradition the dead is mourned yearly with gifts of fruits and palm trees which are left at their grave sites by their loved ones. So true to tradition are the people of El Minya that they still carry their dead across the Nile River via a ferry before the dead are buried.
There are tombs around the city mainly in areas such as the Nueirat Village and in the Kom-el-Ahmar region where princes and important officials are laid to rest. Another tourist attraction is The Corniche which is a promenade that is on the shore. Its a place to hang out with friends and enjoy the beauty in this open air atmosphere. Depending on where you go in El Minya you would see several commercial areas while there are other areas that are economically deprived. You can find hotels conveniently located in downtown El Minya that has all the amenities to make your stay enjoyable. At the hotels you are sure to find air-conditioned rooms, fine dining restaurants and television access.
Like most of the towns in Egypt, El Minya also has a Biblical story to share with the rest of the world. The area of the caves situated on the northern side of the city is said to be the area where the Gospel of Judas manuscript was found. Situated on the west bank of the Nile River, El Minya is a commercial hub that is always something to see and do. It is a naturally beautiful city with significant orange and palm trees that can truly put you in that relaxing mood. Although you would not find historical sights in El Minya, you can pay a visit to neighboring cities such as Luxor and Cairo to see the pyramids and museums. Some of these attractions include a visit to the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens as well as ancient temples and of course the famous Sphinx at Giza.
Tourists are always accompanied by either a military official or a policeman no matter where they visit in El Minya. While the subtle city is void of too many crimes, the security presence on your excursion does not mean that the city is experiencing a social unrest rather it is just a preventative measure.
Therefore when leaving out for exploring El Minya, be sure to always try to keep up with your escort; they tend to get a bit upset when tourists lag behind them. Your level of enjoyment in El Minya really depends on where you go and what you do. A simple journey to the Corniche a shore-side promenade can turn out to be a great evening with friends, food and good conversation. The natives in El Minya are very friendly and are always willing to help in any way that they can.
Other places of interest near El Minya include Beni Hasan and Tuna el-Gebal, two places that would definitely get your nod of approval for its preservation of archaeological items.
El Minya is conservative by nature so if you are really looking to have some fun, then you would have to visit other cities. There are several hotels in the city that have everything from laundry facility to 24 hour service, restaurants and coffee shops. But when it comes to shopping, your best bet would be in Cairo. As the sunset gives way to the nighttime, the mountains in El Minya are lit casting a beautiful view as you travel by.